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Keith J. Bybee

Keith J. Bybee

Contact Information:


321 Eggers Hall

Keith J. Bybee

Professor, Political Science Department

Director, Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics and the Media

Vice Dean (College of Law)

Paul E. and Hon. Joanne F. Alper ’72 Judiciary Studies Professor (College of Law)


Elements of Law
Constitutional Law (in PSC and at College of Law)
Law Politics, and the Media
Second Year Research/Writing Seminar
Political Argument and Reasoning     
Civil Liberties                                                                                
Judicial Politics                                                                               
Constitutional Democracy in America
Political Science Research Workshop

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1995

Areas of Expertise

Public law, the judicial process, the politics of race, legal theory, political philosophy

Research Interests

American public law, legal and political theory, American politics, cultural studies, LGBT politics, the politics of race. 

Research Grant Awards and Projects

An examination of how civility functions in American public life.

Selected Publications


How Civility Works. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016

All Judges Are Political - Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010.

Bench Press: The Collision of Courts, Politics, and the Media. Edited volume. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007.

Mistaken Identity: The Supreme Court and the Politics of Minority Representation, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998. Second printing, 2002.

Articles, Book Chapters, and Critical Essays

Law and/or/as Civility,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 17 (2021): 1-14.

“Free Speech, Free Press and Fake News: What if the Marketplace of Ideas Isn’t About Identifying the Truth?” co-authored with Laura Jenkins. In Helen J. Knowles and Brandon T. Metroka, eds., Free Speech Theory: Understanding the Controversies (New York: Peter Lang, 2020): 97-120.

“The Rise of Trump and the Death of Civility,Law, Culture, and the Humanities. First published online June 28, 2018. 

“Potter Stewart Meets the Press” in Judging Free Speech: First Amendment Jurisprudence of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Helen J. Knowles and Steven B. Lichtman, eds. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015): 147-68.

“Courts and Judges: The Legitimacy Imperative and the Importance of Appearances,” (co-authored with Angela Narasimhan) in The Wiley Handbook of Law and Society, Austin Sarat and Patricia Ewick, eds. (Malden, MA: Wiley & Sons, 2015): 118-33.

“Muckraking: The Case of the United States Supreme Court,” Oñati Socio-Legal Series [online], 4 (2014), 597-612.

“The Supreme Court:  An Autobiography,” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society

61(2013): 179-201. Co-authored with Angela Narasimhan.

“Open Secret:  Why the Supreme Court has Nothing to Fear from the Internet,” 88
Chicago-Kent Law Review 309 (2013).

“The Limits of Debate or What We Talk About When We Talk About Gender Imbalance
on the Bench,” 2012 Michigan State Law Review 1481 (2012).

“Paying Attention to What Judges Say: New Directions in the Study of Judicial Decisionmaking,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 8(2012): 69-84.

“Judging in Place: Architecture, Design, and the Operation of Courts,” Law & Social Inquiry 37(2012):1014-28.

“The Rule of Law is Dead! Long Live the Rule of Law!,” in What's Law Got To Do With It? What Judges Do, Why They Do It, and What's at Stake, Charles Gardner Geyh, ed. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011): 306-27.

“Will the Real Elena Kagan Please Stand up? Conflicting Public Images in the Supreme Court Confirmation Process,” 1 Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy 137 (2011).

“Efficient, Fair, and Incomprehensible: How the State 'Sells' its Judiciary,” Law & Policy 33(2011): 1-26. Co-authored with Heather Pincock.

“Legalizing Public Reason: The American Dream, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Management of Radical Disputes,” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 49(2009): 125-56. Co-authored with Cyril Ghosh.

“The Polite Thing To Do,” in The Future of Gay Rights in America, H.N. Hirsch, ed. (New York: Routledge, 2005): 297-302.

“Legal Realism, Common Courtesy, and Hypocrisy,” Law, Culture, and the Humanities 1(2005): 75-102.

“The Liberal Arts, Legal Scholarship, and the Democratic Critique of Judicial Power,” in Legal Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Austin Sarat, ed. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004): 41-68.

“The Jurisprudence of Uncertainty,” Law & Society Review 35 (2001): 501-14.
“The Political Significance of Legal Ambiguity: The Case of Affirmative Action,” Law & Society Review 34 (2000): 263-90.

“Democratic Theory and Race-Conscious Redistricting: The Supreme Court Constructs the American Voter,” in The Supreme Court in American Politics: New Institutionalist Approaches, Howard Gillman and Cornell W. Clayton, eds. (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1999): 219-34.

“Splitting the Difference: The Representation of Ideas and Identities in Modern Democracy,” Law & Social Inquiry 22 (1997): 389-403.

“Essentially Contested Membership: Racial Minorities and the Politics of Inclusion,” Legal Studies Forum 21 (1997): 469-83.

Edited Symposia

“Law in the Age of Media Logic,” Oñati Socio-Legal Series [online], 4 (2014), 593-835. Symposium abstract and individual article links available from:

“The Importance of Judicial Appearances: A Symposium on Law, Politics, and the Media,” Syracuse Law Review (2009): 361-469.

“Creators vs. Consumers: The Rhetoric, Reality and Reformation of Intellectual Property Law and Policy,” Syracuse Law Review (2008): 427-546.

Symposium on “Queer (Theory) Eye for the Straight (Legal) Guy,” by Susan Burgess, Political Research Quarterly (September 2006): 401-18.

“Citizenship At Home and Abroad: A Symposium,” International Studies Review 7 (2005): 503-524.

Reviews, Commentaries, and Other Publications

Electing Judges: The Surprising Effects of Campaigning on Judicial Legitimacy, James L. Gibson, Law and Politics Book Review 22 (October 2012): 477-81.

“U.S. Public Perception of the Judiciary: Mixed Law and Politics,” Jurist, April 10, 2011. Available at

The Hart-Fuller Debate in the Twenty-First Century, by Peter Cane (ed.), Law and Politics Book Review 21 (April 2011): 214-18.

“Politics or Impartiality in the Courtroom?,” Washington Post, January 3, 2011. Available at Political Bookworm,

“Judicial Ethics: Appearances Still Matter ,” Jurist, October 18, 2010. Available at

“Kagan Delay Hypocrisy,” Washington Post, July14, 2010. Available at Political Bookworm,

“Kagan's Confirmation: Conflicting Imagery,” Jurist, June 28, 2010. Available at

The Lost Promise of Civil Rights, Risa L. Goluboff, Law and Politics Book Review 17 (August 2007): 659-62.

“The Media's Role In Selecting Impartial Justices,” Public Eye, October 27, 2006. Available at

The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition, Roger Berkowitz, Law and Politics Book Review 16 (August 2006): 608-11.

“All Judges Are Political Actors - Except When They Aren't,” Knight Ridder/Tribune, December 14, 2005. Co-authored with Jeffrey Stonecash. Available at

“How Would You Know a Virtuous Citizen If You Saw One?,” in Constructing Civic Virtue: A Symposium on the State of American Citizenship, Syracuse, NY: Campbell Public Affairs Institute, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University, 2003. Re-printed in International Journal of Public Administration 30 (2007): 683-86.

The Political Use of Racial Narratives: School Desegregation in Mobile, Alabama, 1954-97, Richard A. Pride, Law and Politics Book Review 14 (June 2004): 393-95.

Race and Redistricting: The Shaw-Cromartie Cases, Tinsley E. Yarbrough, Law and Politics Book Review 13 (January 2003).

Freedom and Time: A Theory of Constitutional Self-Government, Jed Rubenfeld, Journal of Politics 64 (February 2002): 270-2.

American Legal Thought from Premodernism to Postmodernism, Stephen M. Feldman, Law and Politics Book Review 10 (April 2000): 287-90.

Race and Redistricting in the 1990s, Bernard Grofman (ed.), Law and Politics Book Review 6 (June 1999): 236-38.

To Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation, Scott Douglas Gerber, Political Science Quarterly 111 (Summer 1996): 375-6.

The Rooster's Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice, Patricia J. Williams, Law and Politics Book Review 4 (April 1996): 68-70.